Food Around Kinross: Kupol’s Quest for Fresh Produce

Our Food Around Kinross series explores the varied cuisines of our diverse global community. This month, we follow up on the popular Kupol hydroponics project – an experiment to grow fresh produce at the Far East Russian site.  

A Labour of Love

Over two years in the making, the hydroponics project is a collaborative effort to grow produce at Kupol. An expensive item to transport, produce does not often survive the sub-zero conditions. As a result, a team of employees and community members built a makeshift garden in recycled shipping containers on site. After some trial and error, the focus shifted toward growing lettuce under LED lights. In late 2013, the team picked its first harvest of butter lettuce, red and green leafy lettuce, and arugula.

Today the hydroponics lab continues to grow a variety of lettuce, as well as some herbs (mint, parsley, and dill). Employees now enjoy salad in the kitchen at both Kupol and Dvoinoye sites twice a week. 

Viktorya Delyanskaya (Hydroponics Station Specialist) harvesting herbs in the hydroponics lab. Photo credit: Elena Chernishova (Photographer, National Geographic)

Lettuce growing under LED lights at Kupol. Photo credit: Heidi-May Schimper

Sodexho employees Igor Yerochkin and Dmitry Kiselev manning the salad bar. Photo credit: Heidi-May Schimper

The salad bar at Kupol. Photo credit: Heidi-May Schimper